All stories by Clare Brennan on BroadwayStars

Sunday, February 18, 2024

A Leap in the Dark review – hilarious recreation of the BBC’s first radio drama by Clare Brennan

New Vic, Newcastle-under-LymeA top cast directed by Caroline Wilkes revel in Ron Hutchinson’s laugh-out-loud, if overlong story charting the corporation’s first wireless play In the earl…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:42AM
Sunday, February 11, 2024

Sherlock Holmes and the Whitechapel Fiend; Sherlock Holmes and the Poison Wood – review by Clare Brennan

Barn theatre, Cirencester; Watermill theatre, NewburyThe deductive powers of the famous sleuth are put to new uses in these inventive if patchy interpretations, one playful, the other musica…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:42AM
Sunday, February 4, 2024

Wish You Weren’t Here review – postcards from a mother-daughter holiday with ensuite tensions by Clare Brennan

Playhouse, SheffieldArchers actor Katie Redford captures the ever-shifting mix of love and pain between parent and child in her conversation-starting theatrical soap opera In a recent interv…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:54AM
Sunday, January 28, 2024

The Frogs review – Spymonkey’s fun Arisophanes update by Clare Brennan

Royal & Derngate, NorthamptonThe physical comedy ensemble revives the ancient Greek play in an audacious staging with a tragicomic present-day backstory The keynotes of the time are chao…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:32AM
Sunday, January 14, 2024

High Society review – a fizzing cocktail of comedy, Cole Porter and emotion by Clare Brennan

The Mill at Sonning, ReadingThe stage adaptation of the Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra film is brought to life by a full-of-verve cast in Joseph Pitcher’s fine revival In the g…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:48AM
Sunday, December 24, 2023

Theatre: Clare Brennan’s five best shows of 2023 by Clare Brennan

Our roving critic’s highlights include a bravura O’Casey trilogy, a Lionel Bart classic that delivered more, and a perfectly cast portrait of a marriage Read the Observer critics’ revi…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 01:06PM
Sunday, December 17, 2023

Christmas shows: Evita; Peter Pan review – from Argentina to Neverland, a search for connection by Clare Brennan

Curve, Leicester; Sherman theatre, CardiffThe action feels distanced in Nikolai Foster’s coolly striking new production of the Lloyd Webber-Rice musical, while turmoil stalks the Darling h…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:06AM
Sunday, December 10, 2023

From exhilarating Oliver! to a mardy Beast in the east – three of the best Christmas family shows by Clare Brennan

Leeds Playhouse; Stephen Joseph theatre, Scarborough; Royal Lyceum, EdinburghLionel Bart’s classic musical is all light and shade in James Brining’s in-the-round revival; actors and audi…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:24AM
Sunday, November 12, 2023

Do I Love You? review – laughter and pain in John Godber’s northern soul comedy by Clare Brennan

Hull Truck theatre, Hull; and touringThree struggling twentysomethings find solace in dance in the writer-director’s well performed if not quite satisfying new work I caught the John Godbe…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:42AM
Sunday, October 29, 2023

Cowbois review – playing with expectations in the wild west by Clare Brennan

Swan, Stratford-upon-AvonGender identity comes to town in writer-co-director Charlie Josephine’s atmospheric but slow-going tale of a disruptive stranger Last year, in I, Joan, at London�…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:07AM
Sunday, October 22, 2023

Flip! review – a Faustian fable for the age of social media by Clare Brennan

Alphabetti theatre, NewcastleIn Racheal Ofori’s bright new play, Leah St Luce and Jadesola Odunjo delight as wannabe influencers whose friendship is tested by the temptations of fame and f…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:25AM
Sunday, October 15, 2023

Kathy & Stella Solve a Murder! review – podcast sleuths are cracking fun by Clare Brennan

Home, ManchesterThe hit Edinburgh fringe musical about two friends on the trail of a killer has been awkwardly expanded but is still a delight The storyline of this 2022 musical centr…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:25AM
Sunday, October 8, 2023

The Real & Imagined History of the Elephant Man – a tale for the age of sameness by Clare Brennan

Nottingham PlayhouseThis ‘theatre poem’ by the Australian dramatist Tom Wright lacks drama under Stephen Bailey’s direction An electric-guitar wielding narrator, dressed in black leath…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:55AM
Sunday, October 1, 2023

Group Portrait in a Summer Landscape review – Chekhovian take on the Scottish referendum by Clare Brennan

Pitlochry Festival theatreAn impressive ensemble makes the most of Peter Arnott’s new country house play, set during Scotland’s 2014 independence vote Adaptations of the plays of the pre…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:55AM
Sunday, September 24, 2023

Every Brilliant Thing review – reasons to be cheerful by Clare Brennan

Theatre by the Lake, KeswickThe audience takes on a supporting role to Andrew Turner’s solo turn in this moving paean to what makes life worth living This is not a play, but it is playful;…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:25AM
Sunday, September 17, 2023

Dracula: Mina’s Reckoning review – Hammer horror meets Victorian melodrama by Clare Brennan

His Majesty’s theatre, AberdeenStrong performances are the lifeblood of Morna Pearson’s new adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic tale for the National Theatre of Scotland and Aberdeen P…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:07AM
Sunday, July 30, 2023

DruidO’Casey review – Seán O’Casey’s Dublin trilogy in a day is a revelation by Clare Brennan

Town Hall theatre, GalwayO’Casey’s three plays of working-class Dublin life encompass conflict, grief and the human spirit in Garry Hynes’s fine production A highlight of this year’s…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:07AM
Sunday, July 16, 2023

In Dreams review – Roy Orbison jukebox musical is smart and sweet by Clare Brennan

Leeds PlayhouseThe songs of the big O are used in crafty ways in David West Read’s moving, celebratory story about getting a band back together David West Read (writer) and Luke Sheppard (…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:43AM
Sunday, July 2, 2023

Mom, How Did You Meet the Beatles? review – moving account of a Black female playwright in 60s London by Clare Brennan

Minerva, ChichesterRakie Ayola excels as Adrienne Kennedy, whose John Lennon play was taken up by Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre while she was sidelined, in this crystal-clear product…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:33AM
Sunday, June 25, 2023

Blonde Bombshells of 1943 review – boogie-woogie bugle girls reporting for duty by Clare Brennan

Octagon theatre, BoltonA group of hastily recruited ‘sisters’ achieve harmony in Alan Plater’s charming play about music and laughter as a relief from war “It’s a day-in-the-life p…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:43AM
Sunday, June 11, 2023

I, Daniel Blake review – moving stage adaptation by the star of the film by Clare Brennan

Northern Stage, Newcastle; and touringDave Johns, who played Daniel Blake in the Ken Loach film, brings this chilling drama of life on benefits to new audiences “It is a work of fiction……

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:43AM
Sunday, June 4, 2023

The Card review – a sparkling adaptation of Arnold Bennett’s rags-to-riches comic novel by Clare Brennan

New Vic theatre, Newcastle-under-LymeConrad Nelson’s fast-flowing production, which races through time and space, exemplifies the ingenuity of regional theatre In a recent article for the …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:36AM
Sunday, May 28, 2023

No Pay? No Way! review – a bubblegum drama of despair by Clare Brennan

Royal Exchange, ManchesterDario Fo and Franca Rama’s bitterly comic 1974 satire is a timely fit for today’s cost of living crisis, here impeded by a cartoonishly bright set An everyday s…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:06AM
Sunday, May 21, 2023

Welcome to the Family review – Alan Ayckbourn’s ingenious 88th play promises more than it delivers by Clare Brennan

Old Laundry theatre, Bowness-on WindermereThe playwright’s latest comedy boasts some fine acting, and touches on big themes, but fails to engage emotionally Alan Ayckbourn is a consummate …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:54AM
Sunday, May 14, 2023

Around the World in 80 Days review – a stately adventure by Clare Brennan

Hull Truck theatreThis engaging production makes the most of a small cast and minimal staging, but needs more urgency early on The plot of Jules Verne’s 1872 novel is well known. Phileas …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:02AM
Sunday, May 7, 2023

Wuthering Heights review – chaotic Brontë adaptation by Clare Brennan

Royal & Derngate, Northampton, and touringThe classic novel reimagined as a sort of police procedural becomes a storm of ideas struggling to find definition A barrage of sound mixes rain…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:36AM
Sunday, April 30, 2023

The Killing of Sister George review – lots of jokes but something’s missing by Clare Brennan

New Vic, Newcastle-under-LymeFrank Marcus’s 60s black comedy, about a radio soap star whose character has been axed, suffers from a rather two-dimensional makeover “It’s BBC policy to …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:24AM
Sunday, April 16, 2023

Kidnapped review – tantalising glimpses of Robert Louis Stevenson’s wife by Clare Brennan

Royal Lyceum theatre, Edinburgh, and touringOlder, American and previously divorced, Frances Stevenson frames the National Theatre of Scotland’s pantomime-inspired recasting of the novelis…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:54AM
Sunday, April 9, 2023

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof review – giving Tennessee Williams new scope by Clare Brennan

Royal Exchange, ManchesterA mainly black cast and modern setting inject this new production with a dose of symbolic power Two sides of a family battle over land in Tennessee Williams’s 195…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:02AM

Beyond Belief: The Life and Mission of John Hume review – profoundly affecting by Clare Brennan

Guildhall, DerryThis musical drama about the lives of Northern Ireland peacemakers gives a familiar story a new dimension Beyond Belief, written by Damian Gorman and composed by Brian O’Do…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:03AM
Sunday, March 19, 2023

Run, Rebel review – issues-led adaptation of Manjeet Mann’s YA novel by Clare Brennan

York Theatre Royal, and touringJessica Kaur captivates as a talented teenage runner trying to escape her father’s expectations and violence in a vivid, if overlong production Run, Rebel is…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:30AM

All that Chat

May 30, 2023: Grey House - Lyceum Theatre
Jun 26, 2023: Just For Us - Hudson Theatre
Jul 24, 2023: The Cottage - Hayes Theater
Nov 16, 2023: Spamalot - St. James Theatre
Dec 18, 2023: Appropriate - Hayes Theater
Mar 07, 2024: Doubt - Todd Haimes Theatre
Apr 14, 2024: Lempicka - Longacre Theatre
Apr 17, 2024: The Wiz - Marquis Theatre
Apr 18, 2024: Suffs - Music Box Theatre
Apr 25, 2024: Mother Play - Hayes Theater
Jun 10, 2024: The Drama Desk Awards